Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Catch up and whine

I haven't been posting lately b/c I have no coherent thoughts. Seriously, I am just a jumbled mess. Life has been busy. Nothing earth-shattering, but I have to say that I have high hopes for this summer and so far I have been a little too busy or tired to really stop and smell the roses. Which reminds me of all of the gardening I need to do, but don't want to do b/c I don't like bugs or to get my hands dirty. Plus I can't really bend over too well. Well I can, but it kind of makes my ribs feel like they are going to pop out.

In a nutshell of randomness, here is what has been going on in our world:

  • Lana started a dance class at the Little Gym. She doesn't participate. She begs me to sit in the corner criss cross applesauce (its not a Mommy and Me class), which I do and she either sits on my lap or she stands up and turns in circles till she falls on her butt. Never mind all the girls in their leotards and tap shoes and her favorite teacher--she is a non-conformist and she will do as she pleases. Argh. She does however participate in the gym portion of the class as long as I am sitting on the side. Maybe she will warm up to it, but if not oh well.

  • I will be visiting my dad next weekend. Its a solo trip b/c it was last minute and expensive and I just don't have the energy to travel with Lana from coast to coast as the only adult carrying all the gear while being 6 months pregnant in the middle of summer. Dad is doing well and I am happy to squeeze in a quick visit before the new baby arrives. I am a bit nervous about leaving Lana at home, even in the care of my inlaws, Bill and my mom. I know everything will be fine, but she will miss me and will likely be a handful. I also admit that I will miss her. We have only spent one or two nights apart since she was born. Call me pathetic. I know.

  • Bill is studying for his oral board exam. Its in a few weeks in Chicago. I don't know how he can concentrate with all the noise and distraction in our house!

  • My mom loves her new job! She doesn't love the commute. We have spent the last few weekends looking for an apartment for her. We found one last weekend and she signed on it yesterday. She will move on July 18th if I can secure movers that quickly. I better get my ass on the phone.

  • We are getting our house painted as we speak. Our living and dining room. Its going to look awesome and its the first phase of redecoration that we have done in our house since we moved in nearly two years ago. I kind of feel like a grown-up.

  • My house is a mess. Guess what--I don't really care. Right now we are eating all of our meals in the living room in front of the tv b/c our dining room is being painted and is covered in drop cloths. I hope Lana doesn't get used to watching Noggin with every meal--that may be a hard habit to break.

  • I think I have gallstones. Ouch.

  • I drink and eat too much sugar/junk food and probably not enough water. Not helping the gallstones. At least I remember to take my prenatal most days.

  • I am tired. First trimester tired. Dammit, I need some energy!!! I have things to do.

  • I cannot believe that I am having another baby. I know it sounds weird, but its true. It doesn't seem real at all. I am not one of those people that bonds with the baby while they are pregnant. I don't love being pregnant, I don't even find the kicks to be all endearing and sweet. Reassurring, yes. The most amazing feeling in the world? Not so much. It feels weird to me. I don't want to sound all whiny and ungrateful, b/c I am SO very grateful for this pregnancy and baby. But, I am just not the glowing kind of girl. I am stressing a little about the C-section. I remember the recovery was not pleasant. I could not get around easily, which was okay at the time b/c Bill was home for a few weeks and I didn't have a demanding toddler who is active and climbs and kicks and gets bored easily. I won't even be able to drive for 2 weeks!!! The logistics of the first month is going to be interesting. Bill is only taking a few days off (like maybe 3 days or so) and once he is back to work I cannot count on him to get up in the middle of the night to deal with me, the new baby or Lana (who still night-wakes a few times a week) b/c well, he has to cut people open and should not be doing that sleep-deprived. I am thinking of getting one of those loveseats that turns into a bed for the nursery instead of a glider so that I can sleep right in the baby's room if I have to. Yeah right, like I am going to be sleeping, I should say napping!

  • I should probably make a list of the things I need for the baby.

  • I am so behind on emails to friends its not even funny.

  • I love summer here. Its been sunny and around 70 for weeks now. Perfect summer weather for me. I want more time and energy to enjoy it. Where does the time go? Why does it seem like no matter how much I accomplish, I am no where near caught up? How on earth do you working moms do it???? Kudos to you all!!!!

  • I really want to be in a better mood than I have been lately. I don't like to be so cranky and complainy. Maybe this upcoming three day weekend will help. I always say the weekends will help, but all too often the weekends are overly jam-packed with stuff and I end up feeling even more tired when they are over. We are taking a mini vacation at the end of July when Bill's boards are over. I am looking forward to that--maybe that is just what I need.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

This year for Father's Day, we planned to go strawberry picking because picking fruit is one of Bill's favorite things ever. But after a record 30 days of no rain, it started raining on Friday and although it was just cloudy on Saturday and Sunday, it felt too soggy and chilly to be bending over in the mud, so we postponed it for a warmer summer day. We did have a nice dinner out on Saturday though. Sunday I made breakfast--a batch of chocolate chip pancakes and a batch of blueberry pancakes. Then I sent Bill and Lana to his parents house so that they could spend the day with his own dad. Meanwhile I took my mom apartment hunting. We also had a friend for dinner on Sunday. I think the best part of the weekend was that Bill and Lana spent a lot of one-on-one time together, which they don't do often enough. To top it all off, Lana was being her extra sweet self and Bill was just amazed at her behavior and politeness and sweetness, even without a nap. It was one of those special days, like I had a few weeks ago, except this time it was between Bill and Lana. I think this was the best gift of all.

I hope that Bill knows how special he is to our family, how I appreciate him as a husband and a father, how grateful I am every single day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My birthplan this time around

Every expectant mother has a birth plan. Except mine is pretty much as planned as you can get--a repeat scheduled C-section. So I don't have to prepare a plan to have or not have scented candles, music, drugs or no drugs, a mirror (thank goodness for that). Of course, childbirth rarely really goes 100% according to plan, but most women at least have a wish list for how they would like it to go.

I don't really have a birth plan, however I do have a wish list for after. A sort of afterbirth plan (a non-gory kind). My experience the first time around was less than ideal and I am hoping for a slightly smoother process this time, especially b/c I will have a very jealous toddler to deal with as well. When Lana was born we did not have any serious complications--there were no huge health issues, no NICU, no scary-I almost died-kind of stories. But life itself was a little crazy at the time and it no doubt affected how things went for me as a nervous and clueless first time mother.

Rewind to May 31 2006. I was finishing up my post-doctoral fellowship and Bill was wrapping up his residency. He was to graduate in 10 days and we were moving from California to Virginia in 6 weeks when I was induced. My boss called me on my cell phone as we were driving to the hospital to inquire when she would get my paper revisions and if I would be taking my laptop to the hospital. That is the actual moment when I decided to leave my career behind b/c seriously that is unbelievably ridiculous. So I did the whole labor thing overnight but every doctor, resident, intern and medical student who checked my progress kept exclaiming what a narrow pelvis I had and that there was no way a baby was coming out of there unless she was super tiny. So we signed up for a C-section and Lana was born. Screaming bloody hell (yay!) although the nurses commented that she had the loudest voice of any newborn they had ever heard (yikes!). She was jaundiced and was under the light for a week, so I stayed in the hospital for a week as well. During this time I had multiple consults with the Lactation Drill Sargeants, I mean Specialists who tried to get this loud and screaming wiggly baby to latch as they squeezed my little boobies like they were milking a cow whilst I sweat profusely and cried. She needed fluids for the jaundice, so I pumped and we finger fed her with a catheter b/c the Lactation Drill Sargeants would never entertain the idea of formula b/c she would never EVER breastfeed dammit. Nevermind that they were fairly rude about me not doing it right (i.e. not relaxing) and that this is "no way to feed a baby". Great I suck at this already.

So finally we went home to our apartment full of boxes I tried to pack before Lana was born. We were on our own for a few days before family arrived for Bill's graduation. I don't remember anything except that I would rather sleep than eat, Lana did not want to breastfeed, I did not want to give up trying, we learned what the word "colic" meant and somewhere in there Bill was studying for his Board Exam. After about a week of torture, I decided I would pump exclusively and bottle feed. This worked out okay except that it takes twice as long and there is a lot of stuff to wash and sterilize. It sucked when Lana was on the eating every 2h schedule, but we somehow managed and that pump and I became very good friends. The colic was so hard to deal with. We tried everything to get her to stop crying, but she cried and cried and I felt SO bad.

After Bill's graduation (I managed to squeeze myself into a formal dress and I even pumped in a gross chair in the bathroom) the movers came and took our stuff. We three drove to Long Beach and hung out at Bill's parents house for 10 days. Bill studied at the library during the day. Then we moved to VA and stayed with good friends for another week or two before our stuff arrived and we moved into our townhouse. I was hoping things would settle out, but that is when it really got hard for me. Bill went to work and worked long hours while I was at home with the colicky baby. I had no friends and I missed the social aspects of working everyday. I felt like I was struggling just to make it through every day with this baby I knew nothing about and who would not stop crying. She hated to be cuddled and I cannot count how many times I just got in the car and drove so that she would fall asleep and I could just sob. It is hard for me even to remember this, let alone write it down. On top of all of that my stomach was always hurting and off balance. I kept thinking I was getting food poisoning or a bug or something or maybe it was just my frayed nerves. Oh and anyone that tells you that colic only lasts for 3 months has never met my daughter.

Its so funny to even recount all of this because my life as a mother today is so different. We are done moving around. I have friends and playdates. I have in-laws and my own mom living here in town. Bill's hours are better. Lana is SO MUCH EASIER to figure out. Its the talking. I often wish I could press the mute button, but its her talking that makes her easy to parent b/c we can communicate. Medication for PPD (even though my mood issue was anxiety, not depression) also helped, but I waited way too long to seek the help I so clearly needed and I am happy to say that I took the meds for a year and weaned and now I am fine, although since I have become pregnant, I can feel some anxiety creeping back into my life from time to time. I am trying to will it away, but I know now if it comes back to the extent I had it before, I will not hesitate to see my doctor.

Given my experience the first time around, I have some wishes for this time. I don't expect it will go 100% according to plan, but here is my list anyhow:
1. Breastfeeding success! Please oh please!!
2. No colic. If I can't have that, I wish for an easygoing baby after the first 3 months of colic hell.
3. No PPD. Because it made me feel crazy and it sucked the joy out of having a new baby.

Its not a big list, but I hope to have a do-over of sorts this time. I don't have a lot of happy memories of Lana's first year b/c of all the aforementioned circumstances, but also b/c I was so filled with anxiety and I didn't have the perspective I have now. I really could not have imagined that parenting could be this fun and rewarding. All I saw at the time was how hard it was and how much I sucked at it.

I just spoke to another mom of a toddler in Lana's Little Gym class who just had her second baby and she told me the baby is not the problem, its the toddler. The toddler is SUPER jealous of her little sister to the point where she tells her mom that she doesn't love her anymore and that she only wants daddy to do stuff with her and for her. The mom told me the toddler's behavior is SO bad and that the mom feels SO hurt. She was crying while she told me all this and it scared the crap out of me. I better add another wish:

4. That Lana doesn't hate me for giving her a little sister.

Everyone tells me it will go better than you think. I sure hope so!

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The preschool graduation that wasn't

Yesterday was Lana's preschool graduation ceremony. Its funny b/c she only started preschool at the end of April as a sort of practice for next fall, which will coincide with little sister being born, which is why we started her this spring. Anyway, she is not really graduating from anything since she will be in the same class in the fall, but whatever. On a side note, Bill thinks this whole preschool graduation thingy is a bit over the top. He insists the only graduations worth celebrating formally are high school, college and beyond. I told him to suck it up, this is the first of many and things are done differently than when we old people were kids. Funny thing is, a few weeks ago I was driving around town and someone wrote on their rear window on their car --"Congratulations on your Preschool Graduation 2009! Way to GO!" Okay, that is a bit much.

So in preparation for the ceremony, Lana told me all about the songs they would be singing and how we had to wear red, white and blue and I even painted her nails red to be festive. She kept asking me if she was going to sit or stand. I told her she would be on stage. She said, "No Mommy, I want to sit with you." So I had a hint that this would not go well.

Bill and my mom fly out of work to make it on time and when we get there, she would not let go of my hand. She started to cry hysterically because she didn't want me to leave. All the other kids just looked at her like, "What is your problem?" I tried to convince her to go with her class, but no deal. Disappointed, we walked into the seating area and sat down while the rest of her class participated. And it was CUTE! The singing, the walking across the stage--so cute.

Now I know that this is really no biggie. She will do it (or not) next year and either way its fine. Its freakin preschool graduation after all. The way it all worked out last night was not a surprise, not against her normal character and behavior--this is just her. She does not follow the crowd. She is stubborn and once she gets a decision in her head, changing her opinion is like changing the rotation of the earth. Okay fine.

That said, I still felt a little sad watching her whole class participate, feeling so proud and independent, yet Lana was just sitting next to me asking me a bunch of questions like, "Mommy, why don't I get a star? Where is my flag?" I felt annoyed having to say over and over--"if you want to go on stage, you can get yours too, I will be right here. You have to participate to get the star and flag." When it was nearly finished she said she wanted to do it, but it was too late. Just as we were leaving, her teacher gave her the star and flag anyway, which totally did not teach her anything at all. So then, annoyed still I spent the car ride home explaining the difference between a reward out of pity versus a reward you earn. Then I felt bad for being disappointed and annoyed because really it is JUST preschool!! I reminded myself that all the children in her class are a whole year older than she is and while she is fine with them intellectually, her maturity is a whole year behind and it should be! It is hard for overachiever personalities to become parents b/c I never want to pressure her in a negative way, I want to facilitate and allow her to be who she is even if its not who I am or want her to be. Maybe part of why I felt down about her lack of participation is because in just a few short weeks, she has really benefited from attending school--she loves it, she loves her teachers and her social skills have blossomed. I can really see big changes from her and I wanted her to feel proud last night, not frightened.

I was planning on posting a photo, but there were none to take. She did look super fantastic in her new sparkly red sneakers though. Oh well, maybe next year. I am going to go and get a grip.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Things she said today

I had one of those perfect days with Lana today. I so often blog when I feel frustrated or at the end of my rope, just as an outlet. But so often, I have wonderful days and although I feel thankful at the end of the day, I rarely take the time to write it down.

Today Lana went to preschool, we went out to lunch at McDonalds, ran over to Costco and came home for a quick change of clothes. She didn't seem tired at all (sometimes she naps, sometimes not. I wing it based on tired eyes and/or attitude) and it was a beautiful day, so we went to a local park which just opened its petting farm. Lana was so excited to see the animals after a long winter of explaining where they go when its cold. Then we went to the splash park, then the regular playground, then home for a popsicle. After all this we went to the backyard and did fingerpainting, then watercolor, then played in the water table. Soon Bill came home (whew--I was getting tired) and they played soccer in the front yard and watered the plants. Can you believe she didn't even fall asleep at dinner? It was nonstop activity all day today. The best part? No whining! Not even a little. No demanding either, just polite, lovely, sweet Lana at her best. It was the perfect summer day, just the two of us hanging out.

She said many funny/sweet things today that I want to remember:

"Its fun being big. I can walk. I can talk. I can eat pizza and apples and ice cream." Word for word, this is from the book about being a big sister. Its funny what makes an impression, but not surprisingly it has to do with food.

"You are my mom. Forever and ever." She kills me with the sweetness sometimes.

As we were finishing up watercolor: "Okay boys and girls, its time to clean up!" That must be a direct quote from her teacher.

"Mommy, thank you for taking me to Forest Park today. It was SO FUN!" Her first unprompted thank you--ever!!

"Didection (translation: digestion) is when you eat food and then you poop it out." Thank you Sid the Science Kid.

So that was my perfect day in a nutshell. She went to bed early, but not obscenely early and I am beat. I wish every day could be this fun b/c I didn't have to ask anything twice or threaten to take something away for not listening or any of that typical 3 year old business. I am sure tomorrow will be back to normal.

Monday, June 8, 2009


My mom got a job! It took almost 6 months to the day. We found out last Thursday and we have been celebrating. I really felt so discouraged and frustrated for her. She had so many interviews, then second and even third interviews. The employers would tell her they love her, she is a great fit, we will check your references and then call you. And then: a phone call saying they chose the other person or a form letter thanking her for her time, but they chose someone else. The disappointments were devastating. But then on Thursday it happened, she answered the phone and I heard her say, "Great! I am so excited!". We toasted cheers with some sparkling lemonade that night and went to a fancy restaurant the next. Today is her first day and I am waiting anxiously to see how it went. (I assume the commute is totally sucking at the moment, but that is another issue).

This is a new chapter for her and for us as a family. She was so brave to quit her job in Buffalo and move our here just to be with us. It so happened to be right as the economy was tanking and jobs were nowhere to be found. She has never lived anywhere but Buffalo, yet she has made some friends, figured out her way around town and landed a job. All by herself. Many of us do this all the time, for college and beyond. But my mom has been in Buffalo her whole life. She got married at 19, raised me and worked hard to build a life around her family. I feel so proud of her for taking this risk at this point in her life. I am also so grateful to have her near us, to be with us and to watch her granddaughters grow.

The past 6 months of her living with us hasn't been all fun and games. She had to deal with me during my first trimester--I was unpleasantly emotional--in a bad way. I had evil mood swings that I am embarrassed about. She had to deal with the snowstorm that left us housebound for 2 weeks--can you say stir-crazy? She has had to deal with my messiness--she is a clean freak and I know I have driven her nuts with my attitude. But she has developed a bond with Lana and its been nice to give each other hugs more than twice a year. Plus, spending Mother's Day together this year is something I will always remember.

Soon she will get her own apartment and I will convert her room into the nursery for the new baby. But she will be close by and we will see her for Sunday dinners and just because. Its the start of a whole new adventure for her and I am really excited and proud.